Lok Adalats for UPSC

UPSC IAS Exam conducted by UPSC consists of three stages-Prelims, Mains, and interview. About 15%-18% of the questions come from Indian Polity for UPSC IAS Prelims Examination. Due to this implication, the Polity as a subject becomes even more vital in the UPSC exam preparation. Here we are discussing Lok Adalats which is a topic in Polity.

Background

The Lok adalats are formed to fulfill the promise given by Preamble and Indian Constitution- securing Justice – social, economic and political of every citizen of India. Article 39A of the India Constitution provides for free legal aid to the deprived and weaker sections of the society and to promote justice on the base of equal opportunity. Articles 14 and 22(1) of the Constitution also make it compulsory for the State to guarantee equality before the law.

In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities Act was enacted by the Parliament, which came into force on 9th November 1995 to establish a nationwide uniform network for providing free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society.

Lok Adalat    

  • Lok Adalat is one of the substitute dispute redressal mechanisms.
  • National Legal Services Authority alongside other Legal Services Institutions conducts Lok Adalats.
  • It is a forum where cases or disputes incomplete in the court of law are compromised cordially.

Composition

  • The Lok Adalat is chairman, two members, and one social worker.
  • The chairman must be a sitting or retired judicial officer.
  • The other two members should be a lawyer

Members

  • The individuals determining the cases in the Lok Adalats are called the Members of the Lok Adalats
  • They have the role of statutory intermediaries only
  • They do not have any judicial role

Statutory

  • Under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 Lok Adalats have been given statutory status.

Final award

  • Under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 the decision made by the Lok Adalats is considered to be a verdict of a civil court and is ultimate and binding on all parties.

No appeal

  • There is no provision for an appeal against the verdict made by Lok Adalat
  • If the parties are not satisfied with the award of the Lok Adalat though there is no provision for an appeal, they are free to initiate litigation.

No fee

  • There is no court fee payable when a dispute is filed in a Lok Adalat.
  • If a dispute pending in the court of law is referred to the Lok Adalat and is settled later, the court fee originally paid in the court on the petition is also reimbursed back to the parties.

Amicable Resolutions

  • The Lok Adalat shall not decide the dispute so mentioned at its own instance, instead the same would be decided on the basis of the compromise between the parties.
  • The members shall assist the parties in a sovereign and impartial manner in their attempt to reach a cordial settlement of their dispute.

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